Simple Strategies To Keep Your House Safe From Medicaid Estate Recovery
Much like the animated statue in the dinner party scene of Mozart’s Don Giovanni, Medicaid is an unwelcome guest in probate court, even though you knew it was coming. Medicaid estate recovery is as unpleasant as it sounds; Medicaid tries to get the estate to pay it all the money it spent on the decedent’s nursing home care while the decedent was alive. This can mean selling the decedent’s assets, up to and including the house that the decedent’s children or siblings were supposed to inherit. The good news is that you can avoid this problem by planning for your long-term care, even if it is almost inevitable that you will eventually need to rely on Medicaid to pay for it. A Tampa estate planning attorney can help you plan your moves so that Medicaid does not ask the court to order the sale of your house during probate.
Remodel Your Home for Aging in Place
Estate planning lawyers sometimes advise clients to spend down their assets for a variety of reasons, including to avoid Medicaid estate recovery. How you spend the money matters, though. For example, the annual gift tax exclusion is a popular estate planning tool, and people who can afford to do so often give cash gifts to family members to prevent that money from having to go through probate. Giving away money or property as gifts or selling assets at less than their market value does not work for purposes of protecting it from Medicaid estate recovery, though. Likewise, you should not write the world’s most expensive bucket list and then splurge to accomplish it while you are still healthy enough.
Spending your money on medical expenses that are not covered by Medicare or Medicaid does work, however. This includes “aging in place” renovations to your house. For example, you can install handrails on the walls, install slip-proof flooring, or even widen the doorways to accommodate a motorized scooter.
How to Keep Your House If You Are Not Married
When one spouse moves into a nursing home, the healthy spouse who remains in the house does not have to worry about losing the house now or during probate, and she does not have to worry about the nursing home resident spouse losing his Medicaid eligibility. If you are single (this includes widowed people who bought their houses while their spouses were still alive), there are still ways to protect your house from Medicaid estate recovery so that one of your surviving family members can inherit it. Lady bird deeds are useful for this purpose. Likewise, if your sibling, son, or daughter moved in with you to assist with your care for at least two years before you entered the nursing home, you can transfer ownership of the house to your caregiving relative, and Medicaid will not bother him or her about it.
Contact David Toback With Questions About Asset Protection in Estate Planning
A Central Florida estate planning lawyer can help you avoid losing your Medicaid eligibility while protecting your estate from claims by Medicaid during probate. Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.